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#2971053 - 01/23/19 03:01 PM Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems
dazzjazz Offline
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I expect the answer to my question is simply to practice loud but Iíll put it out there anyway.

While Iím basically happy with my technique and other musical skills on the organ, every once in a while I find my facility on the instrument is hampered by a perceptual change in how the action feels. I have narrowed this down to situations where the gig volume is pretty loud, especially when compared to the volume I practice at. More specifically, on these loud gigs the action on familiar instruments feels very different, often quite stiff, which results in a less expressive performance than I would hope for.

The most recent occurrence of this psycho-acoustic phenomenon was on Monday. As usual, I revised some of the material at home on my A100 for about 90 minutes, everything felt great - hands working well, fluid lines etc. Leslie volume on 3 - quiet practice in other words. Gig was my Legend Live into DXR10. Volume was cranked due to jazz fusion nature of the gig. Result: action felt weird, stiff, not like other quieter gigs and I could not articulate lines as well as just a couple of hours prior. I was not nervous at all either.

So, what is going on? Itís all a bit disappointing situation to be in after all the work on technique Iím done in the last several years.

Darren
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#2971057 - 01/23/19 03:08 PM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: dazzjazz]
jimkost2002 Offline
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I have experienced this also, Darren.
Your nervous system is sending you messages to play with more force to compensate for the louder volume.
Play as if you are at home with quiet volume. Despite the louder volume you are surrounded with, send yourself messages a la Kenny Werner ďEffortless MasteryĒ.
It sounds crazy but it works with practice
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#2971064 - 01/23/19 03:26 PM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: jimkost2002]
BbAltered Offline
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I'm going to back up what Jimkost said: I suspect the loud volume is causing you to tighten up - hence perceived greater stiffness of the keyboard.

This is a big problem for me when I play in louder rock groups. I want to be louder so I pound the keyboard harder - which of course makes it more difficult for me to execute properly. I need to work on being more relaxed in the louder settings. Good monitoring at a robust level helps me - merely adequate monitoring makes it worse. And if anyone has any tips on being loose and relaxed in a loud group setting, I would love to hear them.

(I should say I am more practiced at piano and only dabble in organ, so the "more force = more volume" is strongly ingrained in my playing and musical psyche.)
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#2971092 - 01/23/19 06:34 PM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: BbAltered]
JerryA Offline
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Experienced the same thing. Loud stage volumes can lead to hand tension. Your situation may be different, Darren. It could be something else. Have you considered earplugs for the fusion gig?

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#2971101 - 01/23/19 06:44 PM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: JerryA]
nursers Offline
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Hi Darren I too experience this at times and it's definitely related to the loud onstage volume. One thing I do (although I'm sure it's not great for the hearing) is practice with headphones on and them turned up pretty loud. Sometimes I even practice along to an MP3 of the original song and have it loud but my keys softer to replicate on stage environment.
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#2971103 - 01/23/19 06:55 PM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: nursers]
Nathanael_I Offline
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Threshold shift occurs typically in the mid 90 dBSPL range for most people. As the ear tries to protect itself, we no longer hear as well or as accurately. I've never thought about it, but it makes sense that the strain on the body translates into all kinds of other issues. I love in ears for exactly this reason. Loud stages sound horrible and remove at least half of the joy of playing with other people.

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#2971108 - 01/23/19 07:21 PM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: Nathanael_I]
Mighty Motif Max Offline
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Isolating headphones live might do the trick; run your monitor feed to them and you should be able to keep a decent volume level.
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#2971112 - 01/23/19 07:32 PM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: Mighty Motif Max]
Tom Williams Offline
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For me this thread interacts very closely with the Bruised Finger thread -- I think they're two sides of the same coin. This is yet another reason I dislike my band's backline (versus IEM) monitoring.
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#2971130 - 01/23/19 08:55 PM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: Tom Williams]
mate stubb Offline
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Legend Live action is usually going to be stiffer than an A-100.
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#2971346 - 01/24/19 02:14 PM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: mate stubb]
Theo Verelst Offline
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Those discussions about creating loud digital sound, even at say 70dBSPL don't magically change into something good when digital equipment is possibly digitally mixed and switched-amplified on stage.

T

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#2972066 - 01/27/19 08:05 PM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: Theo Verelst]
dazzjazz Offline
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Thanks for the input everyone. It's good to know I'm not alone in this experience.
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#2972074 - 01/27/19 09:51 PM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: dazzjazz]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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Playing loudly sucks, period... it distorts music in more than one way... simply put, it sucks

What we hear when we play is to me , very important.. I care what each person is hearing.

in a quartet that is 16 different perspectives aside from the audience.

1. how i hear self, 2. how i hear bass, 3. drums, and 4. eg guitar

5. how bass hears TEE, 6. how bass hears drums 7. how bass hears guitar, 8 how bass hears Self
etc etc
16 pov

And because of that fact.. the audience has to not be first priority...
The audiences wants best performance - not studio monitor sweet spot nonsense.
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#2972112 - 01/28/19 08:01 AM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: I-missRichardTee]
MotiDave Offline
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I play in loud ass rock bands. I love loud ass rock n roll, i have since i was 13 yo cranking up Paranoid, Machine Head and LZ II. I don't know what caused OP's disconnect but generally speaking - i wouldn't recommend practicing as loud as we are via stage volume. I'm getting enough hearing damage from the live shows, no need to accelerate it with anything that loud while practicing. I recommend find an alternative method to be able to switch psychologically from practice vol to live stage vol.

Edit/add: Audience is always first priority for me.

My first question would be could you hear YOURSELF well enough in the mix. I tend to hit harder if i am too low in the stage mix. Recommend 1 is ensure you are loud to your own ears vs rest of band. Recommend 2 is consciously think about this and recall there is no need to compensate with harder key strikes - train yourself to know hitting harder doesnt create any additional sound.

I practice to mp3 in headphones. All my wife hears is a clickety clack key sound, which she thinks is only marginally enjoyable to hearing my loud ass self practicing. I guarantee it is much less annoying than hearing me crank it in the house.

OT: I had the noted split finger blues after my gig Sat night. right index finger, under the nail, just a bit. I didn't even notice till after the gig. its almost healed now (Monday morning). my first thought Sat night was I felt like i joined one of KC's secret alumni clubs. its an honor, i'm not worthy smile


Edited by MotiDave (01/28/19 08:03 AM)
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#2972116 - 01/28/19 08:10 AM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: MotiDave]
Dave Keys Offline
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This was the main reason I switched to in ear monitoring.
I was bashing hell out of my keyboard just to be heard.

With custom IEMs the problem has virtually vanished.
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#2972140 - 01/28/19 09:20 AM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: Dave Keys]
synthizen2 Offline
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Yes, it is very natural to want to pound the keys harder when you can't hear yourself. I've been through that, but somehow over the last 7 or 8 years I've somehow trained myself NOT to do that anymore. My spot monitor helps a lot... instead of pounding the keys harder, I just increase the spot-monitor volume. The trick is to not fall back into the "play keys harder" auto-mental response.
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#2972145 - 01/28/19 09:39 AM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: synthizen2]
PianoMan51 Offline
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I think there are two different but overlapping issues here:

1). If you can't hear yourself playing or singing, the natural tendency is to do it harder. This is bad on the hands. Bad on the voice. You don't have to turn your monitor up. Just move it closer to you, or pointed more toward you. Keep the stage volume down.

2). At a certain threshold (which changes with age and audio abuse) our ears start to distort, which means we don't hear what's really coming out of the speakers. Lower the overall stage volume, use IEMs, or use musician's ear plugs.

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#2972152 - 01/28/19 09:57 AM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: PianoMan51]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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Originally Posted By: PianoMan51
I think there are two different but overlapping issues here:

1). If you can't hear yourself playing or singing, the natural tendency is to do it harder. This is bad on the hands. Bad on the voice. You don't have to turn your monitor up. Just move it closer to you, or pointed more toward you. Keep the stage volume down.

2). At a certain threshold (which changes with age and audio abuse) our ears start to distort, which means we don't hear what's really coming out of the speakers. Lower the overall stage volume, use IEMs, or use musician's ear plugs.


I made the mistake of not protecting my hearing for at least a year... This plus age has me wondering about aging and a distorted mental picture of sound in general.
NOT distortion as in a distorted guitar sound or a distorted guitar player.

But an aging brains' distorting the audio coming to it... perhaps an analogy to people above a certain age having known difficulty ( assuming no known eye disease ) with night driving. The images before the eyes are less than ideal; in this sense, less than ideal means distorted.


Edited by I-missRichardTee (01/28/19 09:59 AM)
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#2972155 - 01/28/19 10:13 AM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: I-missRichardTee]
Randelph Offline
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I would second using high quality ear plugs AS WELL AS monitoring that's up close and personal so you don't overly add to the stage volume and you get good sound for yourself. For example, using smaller speakers that are closer to you and your ear level, spot monitors, vs floor monitors, which need to be cranked up much louder.

Another variation that might exist, besides IEM, is a type of hearing device that takes sound in and massages it at the volume you desire. So it'd be like wearing ear buds that block most of the sound, and then you have control over volume and eq. I heard about it as a kickstarter product some time ago, don't have product names.

The fantastic thing about the one I heard about is they can be calibrated to your hearing, so if you're hearing is deficient at certain frequencies, the onboard eq can compensate, so what you hear is pretty close to a flat frequency response. As someone with hearing damage, I'd love something like that!


Edited by Randelph (01/28/19 10:18 AM)
Edit Reason: additional thoughts
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#2972168 - 01/28/19 10:56 AM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: Randelph]
Theo Verelst Offline
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It shouldn't be all too hard to test what's causing the loud audio to be problematic. A traditional PA or Disco type of system with a tape or record can probably go easily over 100dB without causing distress. Your wonderful "studio" monitors maybe with built in digital amping will sound ok at 80dB only with certain signals, I'm pretty sure. There's information in there. A "real" organ on a loud PA simply does not sound the same as a digital organ (even with nice tones and possibilities) on a digital mix and possibly digital amping. No matter what you do ? No there are ways to make pro digital mixes but that skill set appears to be absent here, altogether.

T.

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#2972175 - 01/28/19 11:12 AM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: Theo Verelst]
MikeT156 Offline
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Playing too loud for too long destroys your hearing. I spent years in rock bands and all too often stuck next to the lead guitar players amp. It was WAY too loud. After years of that, I ended up doing a solo act. I didn't have anyone to compete with for stage volume and worked on playing only loud enough to hear myself. Played small clubs where people wanted conversation level music.

I sequenced my songs and sounded like a small band. It was a lot more rewarding and I saved what was left of my hearing. Kept all the money too. grin
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#2972179 - 01/28/19 11:24 AM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: MikeT156]
area51recording Offline
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Volume on stage is to me a tricky dance. If I'm not loud enough I'll start banging, if I'm too loud I start "walking on eggshells" and hold back in a way that hampers my playing. Hard to find the Goldilocks zone a lot of nights....

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#2972183 - 01/28/19 11:50 AM Re: Playing loud - psychoacoustic problems [Re: dazzjazz]
ProfD Offline
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Originally Posted By: dazzjazz
Gig was my Legend Live into DXR10. Volume was cranked due to jazz fusion nature of the gig. Result: action felt weird, stiff, not like other quieter gigs and I could not articulate lines as well as just a couple of hours prior. I was not nervous at all either.

Practice on the KB rig you're going to use on the gig. cool
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